Rotator Cuff Tear

John How, M.D. -  - A Private Medical Practice

The How Clinic

John How, M.D.

A Private Medical Practice & Bioidentical Hormone Specialist located in Encinitas, CA

Rotator cuff tears are a common injury affecting two million adults every year and may limit mobility and quality of life. John How, MD, a board-certified physician at The How Clinic, specializes in the management of patients who live high-stress lives, including emergency room doctors, first responders, nurses, the military, and athletes. To support the healing of your rotator cuff tear, The How Clinic offers innovative therapies aimed at accelerating your body’s natural repair process. To schedule a consultation, contact the Encinitas, California, office by phone or online today.

Rotator Cuff Tear

What is the rotator cuff?

Your shoulder is a complex joint consisting of three bones, including the humerus (arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade), and clavicle (collarbone). Your rotator cuff holds the ball and socket joint that allows you to move your arm in a range of directions.

The rotator cuff has four muscles that join together as tendons to attach your humerus bone to your scapula and support your ability to lift and rotate your arm. 

What is a rotator cuff tear?

A rotator cuff tear occurs when one or more of the rotator cuff tendons in your shoulder is no longer fully attached to your shoulder. Your tear may be:

Partial tear

With a partial tear, your rotator cuff has an incomplete tear.

Full-thickness tear

A full-thickness rotator cuff tear is a complete tear. In this case, the tendon is no longer attached to the bone. 

You can develop a rotator cuff tear after an acute injury, such as a fall or lifting something too heavy that pulls on your shoulder. However, rotator cuff tears most often develop due to the degenerative changes that occur in the tissue as you get older, making them more vulnerable to tearing and fraying. 

What are rotator cuff tear symptoms?

With a rotator cuff tear, the most common symptom is shoulder pain, even when your shoulder is at rest. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain when you attempt to move your arm up and down
  • Decreased mobility
  • Arm weakness
  • Crackling noise when you move your arm


During an acute tear, you may also experience a “popping” sensation. For degenerative tears, your symptoms may develop gradually and worsen over time.

How is a rotator cuff tear diagnosed?

Your rotator cuff tear diagnosis occurs after a review of your symptoms and examination of your arm and shoulder, including function and structure. To confirm or rule out other causes of your symptoms, you may need diagnostic tests such as X-rays or an MRI.

At The How Clinic, you may undergo musculoskeletal ultrasound testing. This safe, noninvasive imaging test allows your provider to evaluate the structures of your shoulder at rest and during movement. 

How is a rotator cuff tear treated?

The How Clinic offers many innovative treatments for rotator cuff tears that aim to heal your damaged tissue. In addition to providing diagnostic data, The How Clinic uses ultrasound-guided imagery to provide various procedures for your rotator cuff tear, such as:

  • Prolotherapy
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Orthobiologic injections such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
  • Removal of abnormal fluid collection
  • Freeing up stuck muscles and connective tissue


Your provider tailors your rotator cuff tear treatment plan to meet your specific needs and reviews it during your consultation so you know what to expect.

Don’t let your rotator cuff tear keep you from living your life, contact The How Clinic by phone or online to discuss innovative treatment options to support your recovery efforts.